Nigeria Police authorities have redeployed the Commissioner of Police in Rivers State, Mustapha Dandaura, to Abuja.
Mr Dandaura is now to serve as the provost, Force Headquarters, Abuja, according to a statement issued on Friday by the spokesperson of the force headquarters, Frank Mba.
A new commissioner of police has been posted to River state. He is Joseph Mukan.
The deployment takes immediate effect, said Mr Mba, a deputy superintendent of police.
The deployment of Mr Dandaura came amidst a row between the Rivers state governor, Nyesom Wike, and oil companies in the state.
Mr Wike on Thursday ordered the arrest of 22 employees of ExxonMobil who entered Rivers state from Akwa Ibom State. The oil workers were on their way to an oil facility in Port Harcourt when their convoy was intercepted by security officials led by Mr Dandaura.
Governor Wike had signed an executive order barring vehicles and flights from entering Rivers state because of the new coronavirus.
A few days ago, two pilots working with Caverton Helicopters were arrested, charged to court, and remanded in Port Harcourt prison for flying a helicopter into Port Harcourt. Their passengers – 10 of them – were also remanded in prison. Mr Wike accused them of entering the state “illegally” in violation of the lockdown order.
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During the Caverton face-off, a statement from the Port Harcourt Government House quoted the former Rivers police commissioner, Mr Dandaura as saying that the police was surprised to “receive intelligence report” about the Caverton aircraft landing in Port Harcourt after Governor Wike “had given an order that on no account should any aircraft land on Rivers State without clearance”.
Mr Dandaura said, “Maybe they are coming here to sabotage the activities of the state and the security agencies that are putting efforts on ground to ensure that Rivers State enjoy peaceful atmosphere throughout this pandemic period.”
The governor has said his decisions on the lockdown are aimed at protecting the state’s residents from the deadly coronavirus, but critics accuse him of trying to disrupt oil production which the federal government considers an essential activity, since Nigeria depends significantly on oil for revenues.